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Awake or asleep, loud or quietly, slowly or quickly – we are constantly breathing. And most of the time we don’t even realise it!

When a baby is born it becomes an individual with its first breath. Similarly our last breath signifies the end of our life on earth.

Breathing is a natural part of our lives. We don’t even think about how many functions it has. When we speak, laugh or cry our breathing plays a significant part in our intonation and expressing our emotions. The word ‘gasp’ is a good example. 

Despite all of the above the primary role of breathing to supply our body with oxygen. Our lungs produce oxygen from air taken in via our airways and after processing distributes via our blood to our organs. Every one of our cells’ depends on this process.

Breathing in is an unconscious but always active process in which the diaphragm moves downwards and the outer intercostal muscles outwards. This creates a pressure that fills the lungs with air. Breathing out is a passive process where air is leaving our lungs with the relaxation of the diaphragm.

A healthy adult’s lung capacity is 5 liters – here’s how to check it. An adult is taking between 12-16 breaths per minute. When we rush or exercise, the number of breaths are increasing. In certain situations, e.g. when we sigh, it decreases. I bet you didn’t know that!

When we need solace we automatically concentrate on our breathing. That’s when we sigh, take a deep breath to relax and go on. During yoga practice or breathing exercises we practice conscious breathing. The success of these are solid proof that conscious, guided breathing exercises support relaxation or mind, body and soul.

Mental disorders that are far beyond the usual tension and stress can cause hyperventilation in which cases it is recommended to seek professional help. Breathing exercises can help with people who suffer from Asthma, hyperventilation but perfectly healthy individuals can greatly benefit from guided conscious breathing exercises, especially if they are sitting for longer periods during work.

Sitting hunched is compressing our Lungs, our Diaphragm and we are not using the full capacity of our lungs. We use just enough to survive but breathing exercises would certainly benefit us all.

During conscious breathing our ribcage moves dynamically and more air fills our lungs. When we practice breathing into our bellies it affects our Diaphragm more. Neither technique is better but best is a combination of both to open up the whole area between the Apex of the Lung and Diaphragm. Under normal circumstances these are the areas that are not getting any air.

Although breathing through our mouth constantly can cause many issues, a lot of people just live with it instead of learning proper breathing through our nose.

Breathing-in happens naturally through our nose for a number of reasons. Air is cleaned in our nose and sinuses, warmed and moisturised, which is important to keep our lungs healthy. When we breathe through our mouth, these steps are missing, the mucous membranes are likely to dry out and germs get into our lungs easier.

In most cases we only breathe through our mouths when our noses are blocked. That is why it isn’t easy to stop this ‘habit’ and why it’s so important to seek medical advice.

  1. Sit up straight and keep breathing calmly for 4-5 minutes just as you would breathe under normal circumstances. 
  1. Now stop breathing and watch how long you can withhold your breath without feeling breathless. Don’t wait until you are gasping for air!
  1. 10-15 seconds Not great, time to practice some breathing techniques

15-30 seconds Lower average – you would def benefit from breathing techniques

30-45 seconds Upper average – good but it could be improved with breathing techniques

45-60 seconds Excellent – your lungs are in great shape, keep up the good work!

Happy Feet Reflexology can help you improve your breathing in many ways. You can enrol into one of our online courses and learn our unique breathing techniques or you can book an in-person reflexology treatment and enjoy deep relaxation while your Respiratory System and Diaphragm receive much needed stimulation and are getting rebalanced.

During a reflexology session we rebalance and stimulate the whole body including the airways, e.g. sinuses, throat, trachea, lungs and Diaphragm so you can breathe better.

To book simply click here: https://HappyFeetRreflexologyCork.as.me/

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